Disputes, Employee Misconduct Rattle Centerview’s Silicon Valley DreamsRead more

Art by Mike Sullivan.

What Went Wrong at Wyre, the Crypto Payments Startup That Went From $1.5 Billion Deal to Last-Ditch Rescue

Photo: Art by Mike Sullivan.

In early May, crypto startup Wyre rented out three houses in Arizona for an offsite for its product and engineering teams. Executives arranged a tour of the Grand Canyon nearby and rented all-terrain vehicles to ride around the area, one person who attended told The Information.

There was good reason to celebrate: Weeks before, checkout startup Bolt announced it had inked a deal to buy Wyre for a whopping $1.5 billion. But the startup was burning through cash and had to rein in costs before the deal was set to close. Wyre laid off 20% of staff in June, a person familiar with the matter said.

Wyre, which helps people buy crypto using credit cards, faced stiff competition from rival startups like MoonPay. That pressure kept a lid on the fees Wyre could charge customers, two people said. Credit card fraud, in which criminals stole users’ payment information to buy crypto, added to the startup’s costs. And when the Bolt sale fell apart in September, Wyre had to scramble to find more funding.

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
From left, a Google TPU, Broadcom CEO Hock Tan and Google Cloud chief Thomas Kurian. Photos via Getty, Google and YouTube.
Exclusive google semiconductors
To Reduce AI Costs, Google Wants to Ditch Broadcom as Its TPU Server Chip Supplier
Google executives have extensively discussed dropping Broadcom as a supplier of artificial intelligence chips as early as 2027, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort.
Art by Clark Miller
Exclusive startups entertainment
MasterClass Takes a Crash Course in Frugality
MasterClass had a problem with the shoot featuring its latest star instructor, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger.
Photos via Eiso Kant (left) and YouTube/VMWare Tanzu (right)
AI Agenda startups ai
How GitHub Copilot’s Co-Creator Raised $126 Million to Compete with His Former Employer
Recent interest in artificial intelligence has focused on large-language models that aim to do everything from writing Shakespearean poetry to solving math riddles.
From left to right: Blair Effron, Robert Pruzan and David Handler. Photos by Getty; Tidal Partners.
Exclusive Finance
Disputes, Employee Misconduct Rattle Centerview’s Silicon Valley Dreams
The San Francisco Bay Area–based bankers at Centerview Partners, the investment bank that advised Silicon Valley Bank’s owner and Credit Suisse through recent turmoil, got two doses of bad news last week.
Art by Clark Miller
The Big Read policy
Europe Has Figured Out How to Tame Big Tech. Can the U.S. Learn Its Tricks?
Late last month in Belgium, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) had a pressing question for Paul Tang, a Dutch politician and member of the European Parliament.
If AI researchers can meet Nat Friedman's Vesuvius Challenge, “It’ll be the first time we’ve read handwriting that hasn’t been seen in 2,000 years.” Art by Clark Miller
The AI Age culture ai
Nat Versus the Volcano: Can an AI Investor Solve an Ancient Mystery from the Ashes of Vesuvius?
Long before men’s daily thoughts about ancient Rome became a TikTok meme , former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman’s mind was regularly turning toward the Roman Empire.